BOOK REVIEWS

Nellie Bly and Investigative Journalism for Kids: Mighty Muckrakers from the Golden Age to Today, with 21 Activities (For Kids series) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-05-21 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 7 user ratings
ISBN:161374997X
LANGUAGE:English

" I think it was a very good introduction to Nellie Bly and other journalists. Some of it I already knew from the History Chicks podcasts, but the additional information on the other journalists was interesting. The activities also seemed somewhat fun.Won this in a goodreads giveaway. " said.

" This is a biography of Nellie Bly with some activities to encourage kids to write. For an elementary school student, there is a lot of text on each page (I know it would overwhelm a lot of my students). The story is quite interesting but if you aren't motivated to hear about Nellie Bly's life to begin with, there wasn't much to keep you going. The activities weren't terribly interesting or engaging to me either. " said.

"This is a fun book to read. Nellie Bly is a very interesting person. The story of her life and her work is straightforward and informative. The book is full of related activities for kids to do that will keep their interest on the topic. There are quite a few examples of investigative journalism and the people involved at the turn of the century and later. I enjoyed reading all about this type of writing and uncover work and how these journalists brought about change in their society. It's quite inspiring. Thanks to goodreads and the publisher for providing a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review." said.

"Nellie Bly and Investigative Journalism for Kids is really cool!
What I liked: This isn’t a sit-down-and-read book. Instead, Nellie Bly and Investigative Journalism for Kids is a great activity and reference book. As you read each set of pages you’ll see the amazing detail about Nellie Bly set alongside fun activities to get everyone learning and working on their own articles.
For me, the absolute best part of this was the pictures. I LOVE old pictures and they’re included here! I was able to drool to my heart’s content and imagine just how Nellie – and so many other amazing writers – lived and the amazing places she went.
What I didn’t like: The text seemed SO long and detailed while I was reading, luckily it was broken up into short segments.
" said.

"I won this book through First Reads a couple months ago, and I'm sorry to say it took me this long to read it--but once I picked it up, I read the whole thing in two sittings.
The Nellie Bly portion of the book is a little less than half of the book; the rest looks at other investigative journalists of her era and some from more recent times. I thought the Nellie Bly portion was the most interesting section, probably because it went more in depth than the other parts. The 21 activities were pretty cool. Some of them were a bit of stretch as far as how they connected to journalism, but there were definitely some that I'll be trying out with kids when they get a little older.
Fun book. Very readable and informative.
" said.

"“Nellie Bly and Investigative Journalism for Kids” is at heart, an adventure tale. A tale with well-defined heroes and villains. The “good guys” in this case are investigative reporters, while the “bad guys” are the people in Big Business, Government, Mob Rule, etc. that are trying to hoodwink the American people.

The first half (approximately) of the book is devoted to the life and career of famed reporter Nellie Bly, talking about her youth and the events that inspired her to research issues and to write about them. The rest talks about other muckrakers, and the causes that inspired them. Interspersed throughout are hands-on activities meant to inspire the young reader that is the target audience of this book.

I enjoyed the tales told within the book, and thought they were inspiring. I wouldn't exactly say they were well-rounded; the goal in this book is to provide role models for future reporters, not to document their entire life, especially their dark sides and failures. As such, I treat this as an intentional oversight rather than a glaring omission. The same is true for the profession of journalism – there is no need to describe the sleazy paparazzi and their writer equivalents, nor to discuss the economic issues facing the print newspaper in the Internet age.

I was disappointed in the suggested crafts meant to follow up on the stories and lessons of the book. In some cases, I thought that their connection to the narrative was tenuous. Further, I questioned the age level for each – some seemed a bit juvenile for older readers while others were too advanced for the younger reader.

Overall, I thought the book succeeded in its goal of inspiring young readers through the example of others. I think the path to that goal wasn't as smooth as a typical reader might desire, but it still makes its mark on the intended audience.

RATING: 3 1/2 stars, rounded to 4 stars where 1/2 stars are not permitted.

DISCLOSURE: This book was provided free of charge by the publisher in a random draw, in the hopes of an honest and prompt review (although such was neither required not agreed upon prior to receipt).
" said.

"
Nellie Bly and Investigative Journalism for Kids, by Ellen Mahoney, was an intriguing non-fiction book about reporter Elizabeth Cochrane’s journey from a small farmhouse to headline news. Known under the pseudonym Nellie Bly, she proved how woman journalists were just as capable as their male counterparts. Putting her life on the line, Nellie shined a light on many pressing issues during her time in creative ways. Her articles, filled with colorful details, captivated audiences and left them begging for more. With fun activities and crafts, this book lets Nellie Bly come alive again to the reader, and inspires a new generation of daring journalists.
Growing up on a farm just after the Civil War, Nellie had the perfect life until her father died. Whirled from home to home with her overworked mother and abusive stepfather, Nellie learned how life could change in an instant. She went to college and was promised funding, but found it was cut after only one semester. Nellie, eager to get away, was stilll stuck at home. After reading a sexist article in a newspaper, she angrily wrote a letter to the editor. Wowed by the emotion she was able to convey, the editor gave her a trial with the paper. From there, Nellie never looked back.
You never knew what was coming next. That is why readers liked Nellie Bly. Later in her career, Nellie embarked on daring journeys that would change reporting forever. When she found out about the inhumane conditions in Blackwell’s Island, a mental asylum, she decided to prove this for herself. She pretended to be mentally insane and got into the asylum. There, she found that the rumors were true. The nurses beat the patients and it was filthy. This visit inspired news articles and her book, this style of reporting is called Muckraking, and is rarely used today. Nellie did multiple undercover jobs such as this one. But her most daring mission was yet to come.
In 1889, Nellie set out to beat fictional character Phileas Fogg’s time of 75 days to go around the world. After finally getting approval from her boss at World newspaper, she set off on her journey. As she journeyed across the continents, she wrote article after article of the wondrous things she saw. All of America was enthralled by her writing. Most importantly, she achieved her goal, beating Fogg’s time by 3 days. Her articles were later grouped together in a book called Around the World in 72 days.
I recommend this book to any aspiring writer, as well as girls in search of a role model. Reading about the heroics of Nellie Bly is inspiring, and will greatly improve your writing. Everyone can look up to Nellie Bly, girls especially. The way she showed blatant disregard for her safety in order to make life better for others is commendable and extremely inspiring
Review by Anya A., 12, Metropolitan Washington Mensa
" said.

"This book, subtitled “Mighty Muckrakers From the Golden Age to Today” is part of the excellent series by Chicago Review Press featuring educational content plus twenty-one activities in each book about subjects of interest.

A surprising number of people are unfamiliar with the names of Nelly Bly, Ida Tarbell, Ida B. Wells, and others, who did so much to uncover injustices throughout American history. But there is so much to learn from these brave, trailblazing women, especially given women’s position in society for much of this time period.

Nellie Bly, for example, was born as Elizabeth Jane Cochran in 1864. Working as a news correspondent under her pen name, she was eventually hired by Joseph Pulitzer’s “New York World” and went undercover at the Women’s Lunatic Asylum in New York, writing an exposé that became the book Ten Days in a Mad-House. Incidentally, in addition to her other accomplishments, Bly traveled around the world in a successful attempt to beat the record of Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg character in the novel Around the World in Eighty Days.

Bly even reported on World War I from the tenches as a war correspondent for William Randolph Hearts’s newspaper, The “New York Evening Journal.”

Ida B. Wells was born into slavery in 1862. But she grew up to become an acclaimed journalist who shed light on the practice of lynching in the post-Civil War South, publishing three major books on lynching in her lifetime. As she maintained, "The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press."

She was also a dedicated activist for the rights of blacks (in 1909, she helped found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) as well as for women. In 1892, Frederick Douglass wrote to her:

“Brave woman! You have done your people and mine a service which can neither be weighed nor measured. If American conscience were only half alive, if the American church and clergy were only half Christianized, if American moral sensibility were not hardened by persistent infliction of outrage and crime against colored people, a scream of horror, shame and indignation would rise to Heaven wherever your pamphlet shall be read.”

Ida Tarbell famously exposed antitrust practices in her book The History of the Standard Oil Company. Much of what people believed about the role of competition in general and the Standard Oil Trust came from her 1904 account. Tarbell dug into public documents across the country that described instances of Standard Oil’s strong-arm tactics against rivals, railroad companies, and others that got in its way. (John D. Rockefeller famously derided her as “Miss Tar Barrel.”) She reviewed testimony in court and before Congressional committees, as well as copies of pleadings in lawsuits. She talked to people inside the company and those who had competed against Standard Oil. And she succeeded in gaining their confidence – a step where others had failed.

The book also features a look at some male muckrakers, including Jacob Riis and Upton Sinclair, as well as modern muckrakers like Amy Goodman and the Watergate scandal team of Woodward and Bernstein. (The term "muckraker" was first used to describe investigative journalists by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. It came from John Bunyan's 1684 work The Pilgrim's Progress. Roosevelt intended the term as an insult, but the reporters co-opted it as a badge of honor.)

Like the other books in this series, this one includes 21 activities for kids that extend the lessons imparted in history to other subject areas. Activities include guidelines on how to write letters to newspapers, how to make a reporter’s notebook, an explanation of “the five Ws” (essential to all reporting, whether book reports or news reports: who, what when, where, and why), instructions on making an ideas box, and much more.

Resources in the book also include a timeline, bibliography, list of places to visit, and an annotated list of websites to investigate.

Evaluation: This book and the others in the series provide an outstanding supplement to school materials for kids, and will inspire readers with both the text and the activities. Besides the informative narration of the main story, there are plenty of photos and graphics and sidebars and boxes that mix it up and keep it interesting.
" said.

July 2017 New Book:

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